If there’s one thing that I miss about England other than my family, it’s my books. I have 1% of them here in Sweden, and my soul is aching for the rest. They’re waiting patiently in boxes in my parents attic for the day that we’re reunited. I get twitchy if I’m in a house that doesn’t hold many books. Having books around is as essential to me as having clean air to breathe. They calm me down when I need peace, they fire me up when I need inspiration. They’re my closest friends and my greatest allies.
Seen as though I can’t have all of my books with me right now, it gives me all the more reason to visit Borås library as often as I can. I’m also always scouring the second hand stores for affordable reads, but good English books are few and far between.
My obsessions, as you will know if you’ve been here a while, include the North, winter and the dark. You would think, being in Sweden, that the shelves – even in the English section – would be heaving with northerly related books, as well as a hefty number of darkly inclined reads. Sadly this isn’t the case. I have to search and I have to search hard to find books which are capable of delivering what I need.
At one point I found myself wandering through all the Swedish sections too, to see if some English books had been slipped in between. It was difficult to remain patient and be methodical in my search, but I found some special treats, which made it all worth it.
If you want to find out more about the books I’ve featured, click on the photos!
This beast of a book is the first of its kind, and presents 35 leading artists creating in the Sápmi region, an area which extends across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia. For years I’ve been studying the culture of the Inuit, and have, for a while, been feeling the desire to give some dedicated attention to investigating the culture and lives of the Sami. This book will be the beginning of a new journey. I’m so excited to see how my creativity will evolve as I develop my knowledge and understanding of these people. I’ve had a quick skim through and have already become infatuated with the work of Inger Blix Kvammen, Britta Marakatt – Labba and Carl-Joham Utsi.
I’m forever working to improve my knowledge about Swedish traditions, so when this peeked out at me from the shelf, I had to have it. The author Jan-Öjvind Swahn was one of Sweden’s most renowned scholars in cultural history studies, so I know that I’m in good hands. This gorgeously illustrated book features art from the likes of the great, late Carl Larsson and covers Lucia, Midsummer, Christmas, Sweden’s National Day, Easter and Waffle Day, along with other Swedish traditions.
It’s practically impossible for me to leave behind a book with the word North in the title. I put this on my ‘take home’ pile even before I’d read the blurb. True North is Kimberly Kafka’s (yes, she is related to the late Franz Kafka) first novel, and tells the story of Baily Lockheart, a woman who flees a tragic past to settle alone as a bush pilot in Alaska. Here she purchases the only piece of land not owned by the Native American Ingalik tribe…
The same rule pretty much goes for winter too. Winterwood also went on the pile before I had so much as glanced at the blurb. Redmond Hatch is returning to his home in Ireland’s mountainous interior when he encounters Pappie Strange, a fiddler and teller of tales. This encounter is the first link in a catastrophic chain of events.
I usually have a couple of books on the go at the same time, and at the moment I’m re-reading Earth Shattering : Eco Poetry (there’s rarely a moment when I’m not re-reading this phenomenal anthology) so will be starting with Contemporary Sami Art And Design and True North today. Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned and which book is currently getting your attention?